Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fragment from A Mythology of Estrangement

A little bit written today for one of the chapters of the Immanence of Myth:

    The progression of civilization, as we know it, has involved a process of re-learning, of modeling the complexity already existent in the natural world that we perceive around us. As we have explored in depth now, this modeling is done through a representation, mythologization. This could reach a theoretical culmination, if progress is teleological and not asymptotic; we could reach a point where we are able to successfully model and manipulate the complexities of the natural world, putting aside for a moment the problems of model dependence. Does this Promethian process lead us closer to Godhood, or further from the Garden? Do we reach a point of complete alienation and isolation when we reach this theoretical singularity?
   It may appear that we're running the wrong way, away from nature, as we come to know it through the models we build to represent it. However, at this stage in our evolution, who can argue for a complete “return to nature” that would undo the benefits we've gained as a result, or that such a shift would be beneficial, or for that matter, even possible? Yet we must also take stock of the actual processes at work here, and shrug off the blind optimism of the Enlightenment mentality that still clings to the Western narrative of progress.
    This mastery of nature sculpted our so-called Western world-view. It gave us the best and the worst of what we have in our present day society. The American myth of the individual, the idea that an individual can change his destiny, are the results of these underlying presuppositions as much as the hubris, corruption and unwitting bigotry which follows from them. The myth of the individual, so central to the Western myth of progress, (as it contrasts the ubiquitous, identical smiling faces of the Communist myth of progress, for instance), a myth so crucial for the development of the wonders that we have accomplished, is as flawed as any other. Like all myths, it distorts and deletes — inventing further myths in its own image, deleting what doesn't match. And like all personalities, a culture's myth is rendered unique as much by its perceived detriments as its virtues.
    How different would our culture be if we instead inherited the Jainist aphorism “Parasparopagraho Jivanam,” roughly translated to mean: “All life is bound together by mutual support and interdependence”? Though Jainism isn't the only mythology that could logically be derived from this premise, all myths derived from this aphorism would be vastly different than those which seem to have an underlying belief in the credo “divide and conquer.”


  1. Great Post thank you,
    Thought you might like my machinima film of the bee myth
    Blessed Bee !
    elf ~

  2. Check out the most recent post.



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